We woke up early this morning. It is always fulfilling to walk out to the main room, pull back the curtains, and enjoy this familiar view over a cup of coffee in the morning. We moved at a liesurely pace, having a low-key breakfast of cereal and blueberry muffins. We listened to music on Marty's pimped out Limin' Cooler. Shortly before noon, we packed the cooler into the car, along with supplies for a day at the beach.
We met Jesi and Marty at Marty's house at noon to embark on Jesi's weekly sand castle picnic. They packed their car with various buckets and building implements, and we followed them to Gourmet Gallery. We bought beer to take to the beach. Rather than buying sandwiches here, Marty and Jesi wanted to go to Subway. Fast food chains are a novelty for locals on the island; they are so few and far between. When we got to Subway, they were closed. It was the third consecutive day with no cruise ships in port. It quite noticeably affects the economy of the island and lots of businesses close down when there are no ships. This one worked out to our benefit because it means that we got our sandwiches from Gourmet Gallery instead. The deli staff made us chicken curry subs to order.
Sandwiches in the cooler, we followed Marty and Jesi to Magen's Bay. We parked the cars and walked through a shaded area with picnic tables to get to the beach. We met up with Marty's friend Sean (a fellow Bostonian whom we had met several times on previous trips) and his girlfriend Carol. Several of their other friends were there as well.
Carol and Jesi got right down to business. Now, Carol and Jesi are some serious sand castle makers. They have all of the tools to do the job right: from children's beach toys to specialized artists' clay tools and everything in between (buckets, shovels, trowels, bright colored plastic castle molds, etc.) They started out by building the foundation, dumping buckets of water into the sand and then standing on it, piling it up higher and higher with waterlogged sand. Craig and Steve filled buckets with ocean water and carried them up the beach to the castle site.
While enjoying the whole beach scene, what could be better than to be approached by beach waitstaff offering to bring you a frostty frozen drink? I couldn't resist, and soon a frosty strawberry daiquiri was delivered castle-side. The boys were enjoying the Heineken cans we had brought. We enjoyed our delicious chicken curry subs while sitting in the shade of some palm trees at a picnic table behind the castle site.
Once the castle foundation was finished, everyone set to work carving. Carol and Sean had brought a skull and some little pewter pirate figurines, and they fashioned a sort of Castle Grayskull. Jesi had her heart set on creating a pirate ship, and she, Marty, and I got some of the hull and a wave going. Marty attempted to carve a sexy figurehead on the bow. Despite our best efforts, the plan turned out to be a little too ambitious. Marty worked with Jesi to convert her ship's hull into an extension of Sean and Carol's castle.
When the heat of the sun was getting to us, we took our drinks and headed into the water. This is a beach that National Geographic has ranked as one of the top beaches in the world. From the water we had a view back at the u-shaped bay and its gorgeous sand.
The fact that there were no cruise ships in port today meant that the majority of people at Magen's were locals as opposed to tourists. A couple of women from a family reunion a little way down the beach were very interested in our castles. They came over to admire them while Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" was playing on the Limin' Cooler. The sisters (one of whom was visiting from Maryland) spontaneously burst into song. Their West Indian voices harmonized with Bob Marley's, and everything else stopped as we all listened to this beautiful moment. They had a young boy and girl with them, and Jesi promised the adorable kids that they could help us wreck the whole castle when we were done. A little while later, the sisters came back with beers for our entire group. They were very friendly and we enjoyed chatting with them.
We enjoyed a relaxing day at the beach. We truly felt like locals rather than tourists today. Once the sun was getting low and the castles were complete, professional photographer Jesi did a photo-shoot. Marty played his current favorite song on the Limin' Cooler ("Say Hey (I Love You)" by Michael Franti and Spearhead) and he, Jesi, and Carol performed a spontaneous and very entertaining dance around the castle that we captured on video with Jesi's video camera. Marty posted it on YouTube here:
After we had all enjoyed the castle, and Sean and Carol rescued their pirate props, Jesi called the little kids over to help knock it all down. The kids were hesitant at first, as if afraid that the castle was too nice, or they would get in trouble. But after admiring it for a while, their mom demonstrated how they could demolish it. They eventually got into the spirit and stomped through the castles, rolling around in the sand.
We helped to pack everything up and carry it back to the cars. We said goodbye to Sean and Carol and headed back to Secret Harbour. We made it in time for sunset, which we enjoyed from our patio. Marty and Jesi arrived at 8 o'clock. We called Seņor Pizza in Red Hook and had a large cheese pizza and a large pepperoni pizza delivered to the room. It is always nice to have food just a phone call away when feeling lazy after a day in the sun. We settled into the big comfy couch. Normally these rooms have rattan furniture, with hard arms and indoor/outdoor cushions. This unit had an actual upholstered sectional couch with extra pillows. It was so comfortable! We watched football and enjoyed slideshows of Jesi's photos.
Marty and Jesi work on the sand castle
Steve, Steph, & Craig
Carol works on the sand castle
Marty, the castle, and the Limin' Cooler
Marty, Jesi, Sean, Carol, Craig, Steph, Steve (Photography by Jesi)